The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is looking for terrorism ideas from unexpected sources like Hollywood producers, futurists, philosophers, software programmers, pop musicians and authors. In 2004, the Washington Post reported on Homeland Security’s Red Cell program: an “anti-terror” intelligence program that recruited “out of the box thinkers” to help them create potential terrorism scenarios.
“Sometimes I was paired with a psychologist or a philosopher. Sometimes I was contacted alone, via email, and given a target to attack,” said best selling conspiracy author Brad Meltzer, who recently released The Inner Circle, a fact-tional novel about the secret spy ring known created by George Washington that still operates today.
The Washington Post reported that “Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell office employs a tactic that has been used for decades by U.S. intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and large corporations – gathering together people from outside their insular bureaucracies to arrive at fresh insights.”
The Pentagon has gathered hundreds of Red Teams to reexamine assumptions about foreign militaries and their weapon systems, at times recruiting the services of Web designers, historians and screenwriters.
The CIA has used red teaming for decades – in the 1970s, Harvard University Russia expert Richard Pipes ran a “Team B” study that asserted the agency had underestimated Soviet military strength. Navy Seals have used Red Cell teams to mount assaults on military bases to test their security.
“I’m not allowed to tell you what the targets were. Or where they were. But I can say that we’d destroy major cities like my hometown, New York. In minutes. And when I went home at night, I felt horrified, because I saw how easy it was to kill us,” said Meltzer.
Four years before the 9/11 attacks, the US Department of Justice and FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency now called Department of Homeland Security, published a terrorism emergency response manual featuring the World Trade Center in the cross hairs of a target. Could it be that this scenario was cooked up by the Red Cell Team or a similar project?
The Washington Post also reported that in the summer of 2003, the Red Cell examined the vulnerabilities of commercial aviation. The participants, including aviation professionals, noted possible methods for terrorists to get bomb-bearing parcels onto passenger planes.
On December 25, 2009 Nigerian citizen Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan.
According to witness Kurt Haskell, an attorney from Michigan, he and his wife were sitting on the ground near their boarding gate in Amsterdam, which is when they saw Mutallab approach the gate with an unidentified man.
“Mutallab was a poorly dressed, young looking individual, but he was accompanied by a man in an expensive suit,” Haskell told MLive.com. The suited man asked ticket agents whether Mutallab could board without a passport. “The guy said, ‘He’s from Sudan and we do this all the time’.”
Although Mutallab is Nigerian, Haskell said the well-dressed man portrayed him as a desperate Sudanese refugee in an attempt to elicit sympathy and as a way of bypassing his lack of documents.
According to Haskell, the ticket agent referred Mutallab and his companion to her manager down the hall, and Haskell didn’t see Mutallab again until after he allegedly tried to detonate an explosive on the plane.
It was later reported that the bomber’s father had reported him to the CIA believing that he would commit a terror related crime. Mutallab was allegedly put on a terror watch list.
On January 20, 2010, current Director of the National Counter terrorism Center (NCTC), Michael E. Leiter, made a startling admission. Leiter indicated, “I will tell you, that when people come to the country and they are on the watch list, it is because we have generally made the choice that we want them here in the country for some reason or another.”
Patrick F. Kennedy, an undersecretary for management at the State Department, said Mutallab’s visa wasn’t taken away because intelligence officials asked his agency not to deny a visa to the suspected terrorist over concerns that a denial would’ve foiled a larger investigation into al-Qaida threats against the United States.
So here we see not only a concerted effort to allow a suspected terrorist to enter the U.S. by allowing him to keep his Visa, but also an agent of an unnamed agency escorting the terrorist on the plane, bypassing normal security measures.
Another witness described seeing another man calmly filming Mutallab throughout the flight, including during the attempted bombing.
Patricia “Scotty” Keepman and her daughter witnessed the alleged botched bombing. Keepman’s daughter said that “ahead of them was a man who videotaped the entire flight, including the attempted detonation.”
“He sat up and videotaped the entire thing, very calmly,” said Patricia.
Was this the “well dressed man” that Haskell saw, or could this have been a third man, possibly from another intelligence operative meant to make sure Mutallab carried out his mission? If so he obviously would have known the bomb was a dud or there would be no reason to videotape the incident. Witnesses also reported seeing two men arrested in the airport, a story the FBI continues to deny giving greater credence to the assumption that the man with the video camera was an intelligence agent.
According to other witnesses, Mutallab appeared to be ‘in a trance’. “He was staring into nothing. The whole plane was screaming, but the suspect, he didn’t say a word,” said passenger Jasper Schuringa, the man who extinguished the fire in Mutallab’s lap and then subdued him.
Military explosives experts have also pointed out another flaw in the story. A blasting cap is required to detonate PETN and other plastic explosives. The explosives will burn but not explode. This raises the suspicion that, as a staged event, the Pentagon my have wanted to raise the fear factor, which this incident did, without loss of life. A drugged “useful idiot” may not have realized he was being set up with a dud bomb.
Immediately following the underwear bombing, DHS head Michael Chertoff began pushing the naked body scanner machines for RapiScan in a series of media appearances. This fact establishes a profit motive, it was revealed that RapiScan is a client of The Chertoff Group, and in a conflict of interest, Chertoff ordered the naked body scanners while he was still DHS Chief.
In an interview with CNN, Michael Chertoff complained the implementation of the scanners has been vigorously opposed by the ACLU and privacy advocates, the House of Representatives voted to prevent us from using it, but I think now there has been a vivid lesson in the value of this machinery.” Stop and take a second to re-read that quote. Ponder it in context. Chertoff seems to be saying that lobbyists and Congress refused to give him permission to buy these machines from a company he works for, but now they were taught a lesson that enabled him to purchase 150 full body scanners with a price tag of $25 million.
It has been reported that on November 11, 2009, British intelligence officials sent the U.S. a cable indicating that a man named “Umar Farouk” had spoken to Anwar al-Awlaki, pledging to support jihad.
In Oct 2010 it was revealed that alleged Al Qaeda mastermind al-Awlaki had met with Pentagon officials in the months after 9/11. If we connect the dots, we can piece together a possible scenario where the Red Cell program could have conceived of a potential terrorist attack scenario like the “underwear bombing” and then disseminated that information through its network of assets that may well include Anwar Alwalaki, who has also been linked to 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour, Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan, and the Times Square bomber. Or maybe all of these connections between terrorists and the U.S. Government could just be one crazy coincidence.
After the recent Arizona shooting, we can be sure there will be calls to have naked body scanners at all public events.